On 20th of March, Airlines for America representatives disapproved of the Trump administration’s proposal to increase TSA (Transportation Security Administration) fees for travelers. The major U.S. airline lobby group also maintains that uplifting the fee is meaningless since the Congress prohibits the TSA to use the collected funds.
Airlines for America has already complained about security fees when the Congress raised the question of its increase in 2014.That time it got boosted from 2.50 dollars per non-stop flight to 5.60 dollars per one-way trip. Furthermore, Airlines for America claims that at the moment customers add $1.3 billion to the TSA’s pocket each year and these funds are not used to increase passengers’ security. Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president for legislative and regulatory policy at Airlines for America, commented to Skift Daily, “Our first concern is about raising a fee at the same time you are diverting $1.3 billion annually away.” She also added, “That seems backwards. I think the first thing Congress and the Administration have to do is return that money to TSA.”
Trump’s administration is now proposing to increase the fee by 1 dollar on one-way trip and it expects the new fee to cover 75% of TSA’s expenses. Airlines for America is aware that Congress and not president’s administration will play a key role in the final decision, which only provides guidelines. Therefore, U.S. airlines promise to stand their ground on this issue.
Airlines for America has already shown its persistence. Last year many passengers were complaining about long queues in airports. This is due to TSA’s reduction of employees, even though the numbers of passengers climbed. As an effective measure Airlines for America created the #HateTheWait hashtag so that annoyed travelers could compel the TSA to take immediate actions.
In turn, TSA reduced the number of queues and is now planning to recruit more PreCheck staff and create more canine teams. However, S. Pinkerton doubts that their campaigning will attract any employees. She said, “They really need to be able to demonstrate exactly what their budget needs to be.” She also added, “A lot of that comes from their staffing allocation model. You look at how many people you think you are going to have traveled this summer and that will drive the number of people you need to deploy. We haven’t seen an analysis yet from TSA that says essentially, we need more people than we have now.”